Karadzic to boycott war crime trial court

Karadzic to boycott war crime trial court

Charged with 11 counts, including genocide, over the 1992-95 Bosnian war, Karadzic on Wednesday filed a submission informing the court in The Hague that he would not appear in court for the scheduled start of his trial next Monday.

“This process is not ready to start, simply because the defence was not granted sufficient time and resources to prepare," Karadzic said in a letter to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The tribunal said on Thursday the trial — one of the biggest it has handled — would go ahead as planned, but a leading jurist said it was likely to delay the case.
“At the moment there is no indication that the procedure will not go ahead as scheduled. The control of court proceedings is entirely in the hands of the tribunal’s judges,” tribunal spokesperson Nerma Jelacic said in a statement.
Jelacic added that the trial chambers are the only relevant body that can make a decision about the readiness of the case.

Alexander Knoops, international criminal law professor at Utrecht University, said there were now several options before the tribunal, including delaying the case or appointing counsel to represent Karadzic. “But it is not to be excluded that the court — facing this dilemma — has no other alternative but to seek a compromise ... and maybe they have to propose a one or two-month delay,” said Knoops, who also serves as defence counsel at the ICTY.

He said the most likely scenario is that the tribunal suspends the case before or on Monday and enters into a compromise with Karadzic, who tried unsuccessfully last week to have the trial delayed for 10 months.

There are no specific rules in ICTY statutes to deal with such situations. In April 2008, Serbian State Security Service chief Jovica Stanisic refused to attend his trial, citing health concerns, and the appeals chamber in May of that year adjourned the case for a minimum of three months.